Life & Culture

Molly-Mae: How toxic productivity shaming and hustle culture harms our wellbeing

Molly May has faced heavy criticism on social media for her “deafening” comments (Image: Getty/

Molly Mae Haig caused a stir this week after comments about wealth and success from an interview recorded last month sparked outrage online.

Speaking on Stephen Bartlett’s The Diary of a CEO podcast, the Love Island alum and influencer claimed that “Beyonce has the same 24 hours a day as we do. I just think you’re given one life and it’s up to you what you do with it. You can literally go in any direction.”

If you want something enough, you can achieve it. It just depends on the lengths you will get to where you want to be in the future.

“And I will do my best, I have absolutely worked to get to where I am now.”

Molly May has been accused of being “tone-deaf”, stating that “breaking out of poverty” is not just down to mentality, but is influenced by systemic and societal issues.

Although much has been said about her comments, what has not been discussed much is how her discourse feeds on rampant productivity disgrace and focus on bustle culture.

glorify work

Molly Mae’s words glorify working 24 hours a day (or close enough) and suggest that she constantly struggles with her lavish lifestyle, and so should we.

While many critics have focused on what they see as “class” in her comments, some have touched on how she has inspired millions of young people (mostly women) to be consistently productive, prioritizing long working hours and the material gains of capitalism over others. capitalist endeavors.

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Many also said they have to spend much of the day working low-paying jobs to pay rent, deal with chronic illnesses, see friends, do housework, and simply survive — they don’t have the resources or time to do so. Being “noisy” nonstop.

As a capitalist society, our lives conclude with our jobs, our success (at work), and our financial value It leads us to overburden ourselves and suffer from productivity anxiety.

Money, of course, gives us access to the things that make our lives easier: better healthcare, good food, fun activities, good housing options, and luxurious vacations when we need a break.

But, more than that, some believe and feel that it is intrinsic to our self-worth to have a “good” job and a successful career. This is called labour: “the belief that labor is not only essential to economic production but also the cornerstone of one’s identity and life purpose.”

In the Pew Research report on youth anxiety, 95% of teens said “having a job or a career they enjoy” is one of the most important things to them, while a Gallup survey suggested that for millennials, “a job is more than that” than Salary – It relates to a ‘purpose’.

In some industries, we view our work as “who we are,” something ingrained in our identity rather than seeing it for what it is: a capitalist exchange of labor for money.

A black woman looked nervous at her desk

Many felt “ashamed” that they had not become a millionaire at the age of 22 (Image: Getty Images)

The hustle of porn and social media

As psychologist Nils Eck told previously, social media is adding to this pressure.

“Watching the constant stream of job updates on social media keeps us fully aware of what other people are doing and achieving, which we might not be interested otherwise,” he said.

Not only do we need to have a great job that we excel at, there has been a huge rise in people with full-time jobs embarking on ‘side struggles’, turning alternative hobbies and skills into another monetization medium, and posting on Instagram and Tik Tok as a form of ‘hustle porn’.

As they post about how perfect their lives have been, and how they’ve managed to live three lives in one, the rest of us are stunned by their success, confused by the way they’re managing it, and inevitably feeling our lives pale in comparison.

As Ruth Micallef, a consultant in Edinburgh, says: “Comparison is the joy thief.”

We see these Internet influencers showing off their Gucci and Chanel bags, traveling to Dubai and New York every two weeks, and asking ourselves: What did they do and not do? where did I go wrong? How can I work harder and become like them?

Molly May Haig fans accuse her of

Social media can force us to compare ourselves to wealthy influencers and feel bad about our lives (Photo: Molly May Haig)

Ruth told “For womxn it often fuels inner misogyny, the push we have to compete with each other to be the ‘best’

“It pushes us to adapt to the ways that destroy our mental health, toward fatigue and away from our authentic sense of self and values.”

What is not seen on social media is the fact that these wealthy influencers have a huge support network, including cleaners, chefs, managers and a whole host of others who are literally hired to simplify their existence.

The rest of us don’t have the same luxuries, and the little things that take up our time (doing laundry, washing the car, managing our diaries, sending out emails) don’t take the time of millionaires like Molly Mae.

We spoke to Dannielle Haig, Business Psychologist and Director of DH Consulting, about “hustle porn” and the impact of social media on our work lives.

Showing off your work ethic and material gains has become socially acceptable and even praised, she says.

Social media plays a big role in this “image maintenance”, because it depicts a version of your life that doesn’t necessarily show the not-so-fun parts.

“We now have 24-hour access to other people’s ‘lives’ – or what they want their lives to be seen as, anyway – and so can tell us 24 hours a day how we ‘should’ live our lives,” Danielle says.


Instagram and other social media platforms allow these influencers to portray their “perfect” lives, making our lives seem ordinary by comparison (Image: GETTY)

And when we constantly show how wonderful other people’s lives are, it makes us feel like we’re missing out on the experiences and presence that others have achieved – so why not?

In recent years, the concept of ‘hustle culture’ has been going crazy.

“It is extremely toxic for people to be ashamed of not sleeping, to have side struggles and generally just to keep up with the endless lifestyle trends being pushed on social media. “

Haig explains that engaging in the “hustle” of social media influencers like Molly May can undermine our confidence and self-esteem.

merit legend

Molly Mae’s comments, that we are alike in every respect and therefore can also become creative directors of giant fashion brands at 22 without any formal qualifications, are disingenuous and make us feel bad about the accomplishments we already have for you or the age we are at.

It can make us feel like we’re not doing enough compared to these wealthy influencers, that we’re failing because we don’t seek a level of wealth that the majority of the UK population will never see – the average annual UK salary for 2020 was £31,487. By contrast, Molly May is believed to earn around £11,000 a week.

girls laughing

Focusing on our happiness and gratitude for what we have can prevent us from overworking to keep up with influencers. (Photo: Priscilla du Preez/Unsplash)

The message is that if we work harder and make efficient use of our 24 hours like Molly Mae, perhaps one day we can be just like her — and if we don’t become like her, we simply don’t work our *** off ‘as she did.

For those who feel “shamed” by Molly Mae and other influencers, and guilt that they may not be seen as hard-working as her, Haig has some advice: “Those people you follow, they get paid to make you want to buy something.” It’s simple that way.

So eliminate the influencers that make you feel bad about yourself, nobody needs that toxicity in their life and learn to see the greatness in your life and appreciate and love what you have.

She adds that no one “needs” a side hustle, and advises people not to let the competitive and comparative nature of social media force you to do more than you can handle, or do things that don’t make you happy.

While we all have 24 hours in a day, we all have different responsibilities and trying to impose more in that time can lead to anxiety, depression, burnout, addiction, sleep deprivation, and other mental health issues.

Pretty Little Thing Set from Molly My Lunch Party

Molly-Mae is valued at £2 million and her Pretty Little Thing deal is no less than seven figures. (Photo: David M. Benett / Dave Benett / Getty Images for Pretty Little Thing)

Molly May’s response to the backlash:

Molly May has since responded to the criticism, with a statement sent by her representatives saying: “Molly did a podcast interview in December about her rise to success. If you listen to the full conversation and interview Molly, she has been asked how her potential nature has grown and how she believes in herself. This part of the interview was discussing time efficiency in relation to success.

Molly cites a quote that says, “We all have the same 24 hours in a day as Beyoncé.” She was discussing her own experience and how it might resonate with that specific quote.

Her view of whether you want something enough that you can work hard to achieve is how she continues to design her work to achieve more in her life. Molly does not comment on anyone else’s life or personal situation, and can only speak about her own experience.

Her view of whether you want something enough that you can work hard to achieve is how she continues to design her work to achieve more in her life. Molly does not comment on anyone else’s life or personal situation, and can only speak about her own experience.

She acknowledges that everyone was brought up in different ways and from different backgrounds, but her comments here point to the timing, hard work, and determination in her own life. If you listen to this interview, you can see that the whole conversation was about her personal circumstances, how she grew up, and this little passage in the conversation was about a quote that inspires her.

“Social media users shared a short excerpt from this interview with words like ‘If you are homeless, buy a house’ and ‘If you are poor be poor’ these are not Molly’s words at all, these are not Molly’s thoughts and this is not ‘at all’ meaning or The thought behind that conversation.

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MORE: Millionaire Love Island star Molly May Haig faces backlash over ‘highlighted’ comments on success: ‘We all have the same 24 hours’

MORE: Lots of people seem to have a side hustle to make extra cash – do I need one too?

MORE: Maura Higgins and Shagna Phillips step in to defend ‘outstanding’ Molly May Haig after interview controversy

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